A Quick Chat About Learning and Chatbots

Educators and trainers should frame the use of chatbot technology as a tool to engage learners with learning more about a topic rather than replacing themselves.

It’s always great to have a quick chat or informal conversation with a friend and learn more about how they are doing and what they’re working on right now.

Today, we are more likely to use digital technology to take part in a real-time conversation with a colleague using a series of short text exchanges through an instant messaging platform, or by using images, voice, video, or perhaps a combination of these methods.

But how can “chatting” be beneficial on the job?

These days, you are more likely to have a Human Resources or company chatbot provide screening for staff recruitments, onboarding of new employees, reviewing and enrolling employees for company benefits, and even self-assessment input for annual reviews.

And we now are using chatbots for employee training, which is more interactive than just watching training videos.

WHAT EXACTLY IS A CHATBOT?

A chatbot is a computer program that simulates human conversation through automated voice commands or text chats or both. Through the use of Natural Language Processing (NLP) coupled with artificial intelligence (AI), a chatbot system can deliver messaging that simulates the human interaction associated with regular conversations.

From a learning perspective, you can use chatbots to turn a presentation of educational content into a series of messages that appear like a conversation with the instructor or a fellow student.

FEATURES OF CHATBOTS AS A LEARNING TOOL

Using chatbots in the learning process offers several unique features. For example, chatbots can be automated to initiate interactions with learners and are interconnected with the learning content and desired learning outcomes, so they can give feedback to learners as they work through a given situation. They engage learners through a one-on-one experience in a question-and-answer process that mirrors human conversation.

A major benefit of using chatbots is the realworld scenarios they can create that give learners the chance to practice using new knowledge and skills through simulated interactions. This is all possible through how chatbots are designed and programmed using a hybrid approach of pattern-matching techniques and matching learning algorithms to respond to learners’ comments and feedback.

THE BENEFITS OF CHATBOT LEARNING

There are several benefits to incorporating chatbots into employee learning programs. One is that learners can take in content at their own pace and time preference. Chatbots are available 24/7 for ongoing support in gaining skills and knowledge or assisting learners with upcoming preparations such as for a presentation or sales call.

Most chatbot services can use voice or text to exchange and interact with it. This adaptability gives learners a little more choice. And chatbots are a cost-effective way to provide ongoing support.

Chatbots can help with pre-assessment of skills and knowledge in a particular learning subject. In conducting this evaluation, the chatbot processes the information collected and engages the learner in a more personalized training experience. Many of your younger employees prefer such real-time messaging that gets them detailed answers or explanations on various topics right away. You also can follow up and do a post-evaluation via chatbot after the training.

Chatbots deliver an easy method of communication that provides quick and detailed answers to both basic and complex questions and situations. And chatbots are consistently friendly and approachable, which makes using them a positive and appealing learning experience.

THE FUTURE OF CHATBOTS AND LEARNING

According to research from Gartner, chatbots will power 85 percent of our online customer service interactions. In more Orwellian fashion, Gartner also predicts the average person probably will have more conversations with chatbots than they will with their spouse or partner!

AI-powered chatbots accumulate knowledge and information that helps them learn a subject “on the job.” This enables chatbot technology to predict and interpret what the learner needs. Chatbots anticipate needed learning content based on knowledge gaps found in a learner’s profile, from gap analysis assessments, and based on an employee’s personal learning goals.

A benefit for educators using chatbots is the data collecting that helps them identify common areas students are having difficulty with. This added insight gives trainers the opportunity to design learning interventions across the entire employee group to address these common concerns.

Imagine chatbots assisting learners with accessing learning content and delivering friendly notifications to nudge learning and application of new knowledge and skills. The chatbot becomes an assistant to Learning and Development professionals by ensuring more staff are progressing with their learning goals by giving immediate feedback to learners and overall performance results.

One study conducted by a chatbot provider, Mobile Coach, found that learners with a chatbot providing a coaching framework were 38 percent more likely to follow through on key commitments than learners in a control group who had no chatbot to remind and prompt them.

Educators and trainers should always frame the use of chatbot technology as a tool to engage learners with learning more about a topic rather than replacing themselves. Chatbots are one component of the whole learning experience. Learning from and chatting with a live trainer provides the human connection chatbots can never replicate.

Roy Saunderson, MA, CRP, is author of “GIVING the Real Recognition Way” and Chief Learning Officer at Rideau Recognition Solutions. His consulting and learning skills focus on helping companies “give real recognition the right way wherever they are.” For recognition insights, visit: http://AuthenticRecognition.com. For more information, e-mail him at RoySaunderson@Rideau.com or visit www.Rideau.com.

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Training
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